flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

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Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery

Recent Examples on the Web

King Lear may be more than 400 years old, but Shakespeare’s tragedy—the story of a rash monarch blinded by ego and flattery, tangled in a destructive family drama, and brought down by his own bad judgment—seems to be more relevant than ever. Maureen Dowd, Town & Country, "Glenda Jackson as King Lear Is the Mad King For Our Age," 21 Mar. 2019 Meanwhile, other users flooded the hashtag praising the president (#myleaderisSissiandproud) with flattery and adulation. Washington Post, "Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president’s leadership," 23 June 2018 But if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Judicial Watch has many great admirers. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "The Trump ‘Ethics’ Resistance," 27 Dec. 2018 For black women, flattery is simply not enough of a reason to permit white and other non-black people to repurpose, misrepresent, and profit from our culture. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Some White Influencers Are Being Accused of "Blackfishing," or Using Makeup to Appear Black," 16 Nov. 2018 As a first option in luring back dissidents, Mr. Qahtani often preferred flattery. Summer Said, WSJ, "Behind Saudi Prince’s Crackdown Was Confidant Tied to Khashoggi Killing," 2 Nov. 2018 The Trump-Fox connection, though, extends beyond friendship and flattery to outright advocacy. New York Times, "Fox News Once Gave Trump a Perch. Now It’s His Bullhorn.," 1 July 2018 Usually these feats of mechanical flattery take the form of swimming bots that move through the water by undulating. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "For Simpler Flying Robots, Make Them Fly Like Jellyfish?," 25 Nov. 2013 Like the old adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Maurizio Cattelan On The Artist Is Present, His Mind-Bending New Exhibit With Alessandro Michele in Shanghai," 22 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flattery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flattery

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Statistics for flattery

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flattery

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for flattery



English Language Learners Definition of flattery

: praise that is not sincere


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

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More from Merriam-Webster on flattery

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flattery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flattery

Spanish Central: Translation of flattery

Nglish: Translation of flattery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flattery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on flattery

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an enemy or opponent

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